Follow TV Tropes

Following

Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E20 "Viva Las Pegasus"

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/applejack_and_fluttershy_having_second_thoughts_s6e20.png
Applejack and Fluttershy teaming with the Flim-Flam Bros.? It's official, the Pigasus has flown.

Story by Michael Vogel, Kevin Burke & Chris "Doc" Wyatt
Written by Kevin Burke & Chris "Doc" Wyatt
Advertisement:

The Cutie Map has called Applejack and Fluttershy to Las Pegasus, where the pair have to find a friendship problem to solve. They enter a five-star hotel run by a generous pony named Gladmane, who appears to make friends with just about everypony he comes across. Recognizing Applejack and Fluttershy as friends of Princess Twilight Sparkle, he takes them on a tour of his hotel. The ponies they come across at the hotel's theater all speak very highly of Gladmane, showing off their new tricks and acts. At first, it seems as if Fluttershy and Applejack are going to have a hard time finding a friendship problem, until the duo run across the con artists Flim and Flam, who are practically at each other's throats with arguments.

Applejack, remembering her history with the brothers, outright refuses to help them. Fluttershy takes it upon herself to ask the brothers why they're fighting, while Applejack searches for a friendship problem herself, going backstage at the theater. In both cases, pairs of ponies insist that Gladmane has told them how much of a friend he is to them, while also spreading scurrilous rumors about their partner. Putting their heads together, Applejack and Fluttershy deduce that Gladmane must be intentionally making the artists argue, since he's the only one who benefits from it. Fluttershy convinces Applejack to ask the Flim-Flam brothers about Gladmane, where they reveal that Gladmane has made them think the other brother said something they didn't actually say. Realizing that they've been conned, Flim and Flam agree to form a plan to help take down Gladmane.

Advertisement:

Flim and Flam disguise Fluttershy as a pony named Impossibly Rich who has come to Las Pegasus, and Gladmane's hotel specifically, to raid it for talent for her own enterprise. Gladmane calls Flam up to his office, where he's talked into helping Gladmane's plan to take over every hotel in Las Pegasus. On the stage, Flam asks Gladmane his secret, with Flim hanging a microphone over his head. Gladmane says that the secret to his success... is friendship. He then reveals that he knew that Fluttershy was in disguise all along, and that they shouldn't have tried to "con a con man."

Later, Applejack and Fluttershy confront Gladmane in his office, where they ask him about his plan to take over Las Pegasus. He then reveals that he doesn't really care about any of the ponies in his show, and confesses that it's all to get more money and power, but that they have no way of proving it. However, during his confessional gloating, Fluttershy was holding down the button on Gladmane's intercom, broadcasting his speech to the hotel. Despite his pleas, his guests and talents all turn on Gladmane in an instant. Flim and Flam promptly take over the operation of the hotel as they start removing all trace of Gladmane from it. Applejack and Fluttershy realize they were sent because Applejack's distrust of the Flim-Flam Brothers let her uncover the bigger plot and Fluttershy's kindness helped them get the brothers' aid in exposing Gladmane. Fluttershy hopes that the Flim-Flam brothers felt good about using their talents to be helpful, but the brothers insist it was a "one-time deal," then going right on to con the ponies in the hotel out of more money from the stage shows, much to Applejack's annoyance.

Advertisement:


Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • The episode demonstrates the "lesser of two evils principle". Flim & Flam may be a pair of greedy con-artists but there can be somepony else out there that is even more evil than them such as Gladmane. As such, when one is faced with two evils, it is best to choose the evil that you know is less harmful than the other.
    • There's also a more subtle, sad, but true Aesop; you can't save everypony.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: A prairie dog (which isn't a canine, by the way) happily wags its tails on seeing Fluttershy.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The Flying Prairinos are a family of prairie dogs who are mostly pink, and a few of them are white with pink tiger stripes.
  • Amusement Park: Las Pegasus is full of them inside each of the hotels and outside, appropriate for a more kid-friendly version of Sin City.
  • Anachronism Stew: Many of the arcade games (including the DanceDanceRevolution game) seem ahead of the typical late 19th/early 20th century flavor the series has. However, the animators and storyboarders took some steps to de-modernize these; the Dance Dance Revolution game works using a scrolling sheet of fabric or paper rather than an electronic screen.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Once Applejack and Fluttershy arrive to Las Pegasus.
    Fluttershy: Uh... Applejack? It isn't as bad as we thought.
    [cue festive ponies running between them followed by a long shot of Las Pegasus]
    Applejack: You're right. It's worse.
  • The Barnum: As soon as Flim and Flam have taken over Gladmane's establishment, they offer everypony half-price tickets to the Poneys Fantastique Theater (which is "totally devoid of performers of any kind") and manage to get a rush of ponies eager to spend their bits.
    Flim: We invite you to use the wonder of your own imaginations to fill the space at no additional charge!
  • Batman Gambit: The ploy the Flim-Flam brothers come up with to trick Gladmane relies on knowing him well enough to predict that, after seeing through their first attempt, he wouldn't be able to resist gloating about his victory.
  • Beneath Notice: Gladmane doesn't even attempt to hide his manipulations from the animals in his Poneys Fantastique troupe. This ultimately leads to Applejack and Fluttershy uncovering him as a Manipulative Bastard, since Fluttershy Speaks Fluent Animal and the animals tell her about how Gladmane manipulates the performers into arguing with each other so they won't leave his employ.
  • Benevolent Boss: Subverted with Gladmane; at first he comes across as a friendly, approachable boss who claims he prefers to think of his employees as friends, and his employees have nothing but nice things to say about him, but it's later revealed that he only sees them as a means to an end and manipulates them into arguing with each other so they won't take their acts away from his resort.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When Applejack and Fluttershy first meet Gladmane, he seems like a friendly enough pony on good terms with his employees. However, they soon find out that he willingly creates discord between them to keep them in his employ and make more money for his building.
  • Bottle Episode: The majority of this episode takes place inside Gladmane's hotel, rather than the whole city of Las Pegasus.
  • Bowdlerize: The removal of gambling elements from Las Pegasus — especially odd, as we've already seen dice being tossed for bits and a poker game being played for clearly more than friendly reasons.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Flam: When we're done, there won't be a pony in town who doesn't know the Applejack-iest truth about Gladmane!
  • The Bus Came Back: After another two seasons (not counting their cameo in the season 5 finale), the Flim-Flam Brothers return once again.
  • Call-Back: Applejack clearly hasn't gotten over her past dealings with the Flim-Flam brothers.
  • The Cameo: Among reused background ponies are Svengallop, the tourist-pony couple, the Gordon Ramsay pony from "Spice Up Your Life", and the carrot dog vendor from "Stranger Than Fan Fiction".
  • Caught by Arrogance: This was the end goal of Flim's, Flam's, Applejack's, and Fluttershy's plan to expose Gladmane's actions. First, they set up a fake Engineered Public Confession, which he doesn't fall for. And then Applejack and Fluttershy go to him again so he can smugly brag to their faces how he'll never be caught, unaware that Fluttershy turned the casino PA on while he was bragging.
  • Contemplative Boss: Gladmane's office has windows giving a good view over the whole hotel complex, and he's seen peering into them thoughtfully while waiting for Flam. (He does it without the Reverse Arm-Fold typical of this trope, though, because pony.)note 
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the arcade prize stand, you can see plushies of creatures featured in other episodes, like parasprites, a jackalope and a pair of ursas major.
    • This is the second time on a map mission Fluttershy's rapport with animals lead her to the truth behind the friendship problem.
    • The role Fluttershy plays in the Kansas City Shuffle is that of the grand matriarch of the Rich family, which includes Diamond Tiara and her parents Filthy Rich and Spoiled Rich.
  • The Dandy: Both of the pink prairie dogs' trainers wear flamboyant pink costumes, and one of them has manscaping stubble on his chest.
  • Disneyfication: The glitzy, flashy Las Pegasus is exactly like its real-world counterpart — themed resorts, extravagant stage shows, indoor roller-coasters, even a few shots showing of a trio of mares in big, feathered, showgirl outfits — except for the main thing that defines Las Vegas. When Applejack and Fluttershy arrive at Gladmane's you can indeed hear the chink of coins being put into slots in the sound mix, but it's quickly revealed to be just a massive arcade.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Flim and Flam have been depicted as virtually identical in the series up to now, as two hucksters who get people to pay them for their shoddy or outright worthless goods by putting on razzle-dazzle performances. In this episode, however, we're shown that Flim is the one with the knack for showmanship, while Flam provides the business acumen for their ventures.
  • Elective Unintelligible: "Impossibly Rich" only whispers to Flam, who then reports her words. It's on purpose, since Fluttershy's meek voice would be easily recognizable. She also probably wouldn't be comfortable trying to bluff Gladmane, unlike a conpony like Flam.
  • Enemy Mine: Once Applejack and Fluttershy find out Gladmane's true scheme and manage to convince Flim and Flam of it (since it was told to them by Applejack, and they know she would never lie). The pairs agree to work together to expose him.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Double subverted. Gladmane knows that the Flim-Flam brothers' first attempt was a set-up, so he "confesses" that the key to his success is friendship. Later on, though, Fluttershy and Applejack get him to actually confess using the intercom in his office.
  • Evil Gloating: Gladmane indulges in this after seeing through the first attempt to trick a confession from him. Him doing just this is what the actual plan to get him to confess relied on.
  • Eyed Screen: A variant; upon spotting Flim and Flam, Applejack's eyes are framed not by vertical bars, but by the rest of the screen being shadowed, leaving only the band with her eyes normally lighted.
  • False Friend: Gladmane claims to be a believer in friendship, and the ponies who work for him all laud him as kind, genuine and compassionate. However, it's later revealed that he only pretends to be his employees' friend and willingly sows discord between them so they're too busy arguing with each other to leave his resort.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Gladmane pretends to be a friendly, approachable and reasonable boss, but is really a ruthless swindler who sees his employees as nothing more than a means to an end.
  • Feud Episode: As a result of Gladmane's manipulation, there is one between the Flim-Flam brothers. Each brother thinks that the other thinks he is ineffective as a conman without the other, Flim without business savvy and Flam without the charisma to sway marks.
  • Fish out of Water: Lampshaded. Both Fluttershy and Applejack are apprehensive about travelling to Las Pegasus, as a Shrinking Violet and a Country Mouse would definitely feel out of place in a wild resort town like that.
  • Foreshadowing: Gladmane explains early in the episode that he would be worried if Flim and Flam ever put their quarrel aside as they could easily buy out the hotel from under him. That's exactly what happens by the end of the episode.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: A rare example of Fluttershy and Applejack sharing the spotlight.
  • Gambit Pileup: After figuring out Gladmane's gambit to turn them and his other workers against each other, Flim and Flam use their own gambit, which he sees through, only for it to turn out that him seeing through it was intentional on their part.
  • Gaslighting: Gladmane's tactics involve setting pairs of ponies against each other by making them believe their partner is the one responsible for problems in their relationship, keeping them from taking their acts on the road. He has the trapeze star believing her manager is looking for new talent and the manager believing his star wants full control of the show, and he keeps changing the prairie dog trainers' act while making each trainer think the other is doing it, which causes them all to constantly argue about their acts.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Applejack refuses to even consider helping the Flim-Flam brothers reconcile until Fluttershy points out that it is the only way they could resolve the other two friendship problems. As bad as the brothers are, Gladmane is worse.
  • Good Feels Good: Fluttershy was hoping that using their con-artist skills to help others instead of harm would bring the Flim-Flam brothers to the Friendship side of the Force. Nope, this was a one-time thing.
  • Gratuitous French: Poneys Fantastique, the headline attraction at Gladmane's resort.
  • Greed: Gladmane reveals to Flam that he wants to muscle out all the other business owners in Las Pegasus and set up a monopoly where he controls everything.
  • Grumpy Bear: The juice vendor from "Stranger Than Fan Fiction" makes a brief appearance running the arcade prize stand, and she still has the same sour expression as before.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Gladmane is honored to meet Applejack and Fluttershy who he knows well as two of Twilight Sparkle's best friends and speaks highly of hard work and friendship as the keys to his success. His modus operandi, on the other hand, is an antithesis of Friendship and would come off as despicable to the Princess of Friendship.
    • Flim accuses Flam of being a price-gouging charlatan. Now isn't THAT just "The pot calling the kettle black?"
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: The Riches are an established family in the show, and Gladmane and the resort-goers all react to her as if she were someone real and well-known, but the real Impossibly Rich is never seen.
  • Irony:
    • Applejack says that if Flim and Flam were working together, they would cheat the hooves right out from under Gladmane. She ends up helping them do this.
    • Despite he and his brother being professional con artists themselves, Flim initially dismisses the idea that Gladmane had been lying to them, believing he'd have no reason to do so.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Flim and Flam know that Gladmane knows they are trying to trick him, but that's all part of their plan.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Employed by Applejack and Fluttershy. During Gladmane's Evil Gloating about his true nature, Fluttershy surreptitiously turns on his intercom, allowing the whole resort to hear him.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Flim and Flam's plan to trick Gladmane relies on him thinking he can dodge an Engineered Public Confession, only to walk into the real trap. Flim and Flam also rattle off a number of other plans that lampshade this trope's name, such as the "Canterlot Two-Step" or the "Baltimare Flair".
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Applejack grudgingly accepts Flim and Flam as this, going along with their plan in order to expose Gladmane.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Flim and Flam manage to be this compared to Gladmane. While they are unrepentant con artists, they've never sunk so low as to turn ponies against each other for their own benefit.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Gladmane tries to get the ponies working for him to fight each other so they will be divided and stuck with him.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To the film Viva Las Vegas and the song of the same name by Elvis Presley.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Gladmane makes ponies fight in order to keep them from leaving.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • While Applejack is talking to pony performers about their disputes with their colleagues, Fluttershy quietly listens to Bernard and the Flying Prairinos to get the real story on Gladmane.
    • Midway through Gladmane's Motive Rant, the ponies seen through the window stop conversing and smiling, and start looking up. Fluttershy had just pressed the button on Gladmane's PA system.
  • Mock Millionaire: Invoked as part of a Kansas City Shuffle, with Fluttershy playing the part of Impossibly Rich, whom Flim and Flam paint as able to buy out any entertainment complex in Las Pegasus.
  • Money Fetish: Implied. Gladmane loves money. His cutie mark is sparkling gold coins, and his bowtie is decorated with bits.
  • Mythology Gag: The Flim-Flam brothers having an argument solved by an Apple comes right out of the comics.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: At first, our heroes are disappointed they can't find a friendship problem to solve; they were expecting finding one would be this trope. Lampshaded by Applejack.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Gladmane seems to be a Composite Character combining the hairstyle and catchphrases of Elvis Presley, the dress sense of Liberace, and the voice and personality of Colonel Tom Parker (Elvis's manager who ruthlessly pursued financial gain even at his client's expense.)
    • The two prairie dog trainers are obviously based on Siegfried and Roy. One of them even has a white tiger's head for a cutie mark.
    • The genre-blending trapeze artist and her costume are modeled after Cirque du Soleil aerialists.
    • Among the various background ponies are pony versions of Penn & Teller.
    • The Gordon Ramsay stallion, previously seen in "Spice Up Your Life", is managing the buffet.
    • Two shows advertised in the background art mimic the art for Britney Spears' Vegas show and the Criss Angel Mindfreak live show.
  • No Name Given: The prairie dog trainers, barker, stage manager, director, and trapeze star are all named only by job title in the credits.
  • Noodle Implements: When Flim and Flam discuss potential Kansas City Shuffles to pull on Gladmane, Flam says they "don't have the chickens" needed to pull off a Canterlot Two-Step.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Applejack gets a hilariously detailed slow burn one as Flim's voice cuts through the crowd.
    • Gladmane is suddenly horrified to see that Fluttershy had the intercom on during his victory boasting.
  • One-Shot Character: The episode introduces Gladmane, the owner of Gladmane's Resort where Flim and Flam are working.
  • Out-Gambitted: Initially, Gladmane sees the Engineered Public Confession coming and makes a play of his own so that it makes himself look better without falling for it. Then, while he's gloating about his victory, he ends up walking right into the real trap, and he loses his reputation, his position, and his employees.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Gladmane's plot only worked because he got everyone too mad to talk things out and realize the truth.
  • Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: The trapeze artist wants to conclude her genre-blending number with this trick and demonstrates it with a gray rabbit (saying "ta-daaa!") coming out of her top hat, but her manager is against it.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Applejack and Fluttershy manage to solve the three friendship problems and expose Gladmane. But since he's no longer in charge, the Flim-Flam Brothers quickly seize on the opportunity to take over his business and scam the patrons.
  • Redemption Rejection: After Gladmane is exposed, Fluttershy hopes that the con ponies can change their ways. Then the Flim-Flam Brothers say that using their skills for altruistic purposes was a one-time thing and quickly swindle control over the hotel. Some ponies just don't want to change their ways.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Flying Prairinos are pushing the cuteness level rather high. Notably when they react to their owners' bickering with uncertainty or funny body language (and cute little squeaks). No wonder Fluttershy simply melts before them.
  • Say My Name: Applejack calls out Flim and Flam's name after they go back to the con-men ways at the end of the episode.
  • Series Continuity Error: Applejack claims she must be telling the absolute truth which Flim and Flam respond with "because you never lie!" However, Applejack has actually lied before on multiple occasions such as in "Party of One" where she claimed that there was "lots of construction" going on in the barn to keep Pinkie from discovering her surprise party and more importantly, in "Leap of Faith", where the Flim-Flam brothers themselves coerced her into lying about their snake oil.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Flying Prairinos (the pink prairie dog family) are named for the Flying Gambonnos of Marvel Comics.
    • One of the games that the ponies are playing in the arcade is DanceDanceRevolution.
    • The backstage pony that helps explain some of the problems between the trapeze artist and her manager is based on Scooter from The Muppet Show.
    • One of the background ponies has a hairstyle similar to Pearl's from Steven Universe. For bonus points, her cutie mark is a rose with hearts surrounding it, referencing Pearl's love for Rose Quartz.
  • Smash Cut: The transition from Twilight's Castle to Las Pegasus. Bonus points that only the background changes while the camera is focused on Applejack and Fluttershy.
  • Smug Smiler: Fluttershy has one of these when she suggests Applejack ask the Flim-Flam Brothers for help in exposing Gladmane because she knows Applejack will do it, despite her earlier refusal.
  • Smug Snake: Once Gladmane's true colors are revealed, he is engaging in Evil Gloating and boasting about how he "invented" the "Highroller Hustle" Engineered Public Confession technique Applejack, Fluttershy, and the Flim-Flam Brothers used. He falls for another trap instead and he suffers a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Once again, Fluttershy puts this talent to good use, by talking with the prairie dogs and the rabbit-in-a-hat to better assess the true backstage situation of Gladmane's theater — since the ponies are rather uncooperative.
  • Split Screen: The screen is split in two to show Flim and Flam refusing to talk to each other. Both scenes are not happening at the same time since Fluttershy is questioning both and relaying their responses to the other, but they are saying the exact same thing in unison during the split.
  • Status Quo Is God: While Applejack and Fluttershy complete the map's mission to help bring back friendship to the pairs of performers that was severed by Gladmane, Flim and Flam remain con-men first and foremost, quickly co-opting Gladmane's hotel for their next money-making scam.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Invoked by Gladmane. He sows distrust between the members of his acts, preventing them from leaving his resort, but still getting them to perform for him by pretending he's their friend.
    • Applejack is none too happy to work with the Flim-Flam Brothers, but she concedes since they're dealing with an even bigger swindler in Gladmane, that the two have much more expertise in the field and thus they will need their help.
  • Tempting Fate: Gladmane mention that Flim and Flam are business savvy enough that they could run his business if they ever reconciled. Guess what happens at the end of the episode?
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: Standard fare for a plot directed by The Map. Neither Country Mouse Applejack nor Shrinking Violet Fluttershy wants to endure the big-city excitement of Las Pegasus, and Fluttershy questions whether the map is on the fritz again. It turns out that Applejack's history with Flim and Flam together with her absolute honesty and Fluttershy's ability to talk to critters and willingness to show the brothers kindness play critical roles in uncovering Gladmane's manipulative nature.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Zig-zagged. Flim and Flam reveal that they have disguised Fluttershy as "Impossibly Rich" to trick Gladmane into confessing that he has manipulated his employees, but Gladmane sees through the plan. It turns out that this was part of the plan all along and while Gladmane is bragging, he doesn't realize he has been tricked into confessing, which we don't find out was part of the plan all along until after it happens.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Applejack calls Gladmane's manipulations "a load of applesauce".
  • Verbal Tic: Gladmane has a tendency to say "Uh-huh" or "Uh-huh huh" at the end of his lines. It turns out to be an affectation as part of his public persona, which he drops when behind closed doors.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When his scheme and duplicity are exposed, Gladmane drops all air of smug superiority and is reduced to begging his employees from leaving him behind.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The kid-friendly equivalent; Las Pegasus is presented as a giant amusement park/circus, and gambling is never mentioned. Among some of the elements spoofed:
    • The pirate ship backdrop seen backstage at Gladmane's is a reference to the (now discontinued) pirate show at Treasure Island.
    • The indoor roller coaster resembles the real one at Circus Circus.
    • The ferris wheel is a smaller version of the High Roller wheel at the Linq.
    • There's a resort on the Strip that looks a replica Eiffel Tower, like the Paris casino.
    • The round tower of the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood) resort.
    • A black pyramid in the background, which looks essentially the same as the Luxor.
    • The equivalent of the MGM Grand's lion is a building in the shape of a pegasus.
    • A replica of Manehattan, representing New York New York.
    • A replica of Canterlot painted pink, parodying both the Excalibur and the Flamingo.
    • In several shots while in Gladmane's hotel, there can be seen a trio of mares decked out in pony versions of showgirl outfits, including the big, feathered headdresses and skirts.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Fluttershy's disguise as "Impossibly Rich" consists of a green wig, a feather boa, a dress that conceals her wings, glasses, and speaking in whispers. Her coat color is still recognizable, though, and Gladmane isn't fooled.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Invoked by the Flim-Flam Brothers after Applejack tells them that since she is the one who told them about Gladmane's true intentions in keeping everyone (as well as the two of them) at each other's throats, and they know from past experience that she never lies.
  • Worldbuilding: Las Pegasus was mentioned four seasons ago back in "It's About Time". This episode finally shows what the place looks like: a crowded and busy resort city full of hotels and entertainment venues much like Las Vegas, except with Solid Clouds and no casinos.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Gladmane exposed

Applejack and Fluttershy trick Gladmane into exposing his true colors, ruining his business once and for all.

How well does it match the trope?

4.2 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / EngineeredPublicConfession

Media sources:

Main / EngineeredPublicConfession

Report